Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sunshine thru clouds


That's a series of public holidays in Japan, all lumped together and called "Golden Week". I have got 6 days of no work - gonna stay close to home with garden, cats, movies, books, housework, making-signboard-for-classroom...oh and looking after Okaasan while Yujiro starts work as a cycle taxi driver.

Sunshine vs. clouds? Not just the weather - but Okaasan's brain.
It's so surprising when she says something completely normal - like the sun breaking thru the usual rolling grey matter. Yujiro is away cycle taxi working and at an end-of-season ski teacher party. I'm on Okaasan Duty.

Yesterday she came into the kitchen to ask me: "I'm going to the dentist for my tooth check aren't I? When is the appointment?" and I told her Monday and helped her write it on the calender in her room...had a chat about a childhood accident which had made that tooth crooked etc Best to go and get the dentist to check it etc.

Surprising because although we thought she remembered about her tooth - she must be able to feel the difference in her mouth all the time - we weren't sure talk about a dentist visit had sunk in...and stayed. But it obviously did. All good for Monday when I have to take her!

And then. Before going out yesterday (movie and dinner - 4 Hours of Royal Wedding AND Dinner With Okaasan Avoidance) - I checked that Okaasan had enough money for coffee and chicken nuggets in Seicomart. Recently this is her new routine...go and sit at the counter in the convenience store and drink coffee with a few bits of white stuff pretending to be chicken.

"Money? Oh yes, Yujiro gave me some yesterday thankyou! I have enough!" she trilled happily.

These kind of conversations are so normal. But not with Okaasan usually. Where am I going? Why? When? Do I have money? Yesterday? He gave me? When? Really?

Sunshine vs. Clouds.

Excuse me.....What? Me? Royal Wedding? Yes, I know...I AM British. But sorry, no...not much interest really. If I'd had a foreign friend (yes YOU Heather-chan!!) to sit and watch it with and make snarky comments then maybe I'd have watched it. But that and dinner with Okaasan isn't my idea of a Fun Evening.
So I escaped, left Okaasan sushi on the kitchen table and went with a newspaper and a book downtown, ate a hamburger, saw a movie...walked in the spring night.
Came home later to catch CNN with Piers Morgan and Cat Deely making great snarky comments about "The Kiss" while Anderson Cooper displayed his recent Humor Bypass results by talking sincerely about flypasts and a great-moment-in-history.

Best royal wedding video? This one I think....

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Talking toilet.

No - not a Japanese Super Loo that chats while you squat..although I expect that exists somewhere.

He and I - sitting talking about "What to do with Okaasan's toilet situation?"
Strange conversation to be having.
Prompted by yet another "accident" on the toilet floor mat last night. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and I could hear Okaasan taking a looong time in the toilet and using up loads of paper...I found it this morning...the mat anyway...haven't found the clothes yet because we can't get into her room while she is there.

So. What to do?
This is going beyond the occasional accident that Yujiro could explain away by saying Okaasan had accidents when she couldn't stand up and walk to the toilet in time.
From Internet searches I am guessing we have two problems; a) elderly people lose power in the bowel muscles and the shit becomes softer and b) dementia sufferers don't remember and act on the "must go to the toilet soon urge".

It's time to move onto diapers - called rehabili  (rehabilitation) pads in Japan - and a special trash box in the toilet and her room so we can throw away the soiled pads easily.

But how to approach this topic with her?

I am all for getting the nurse at the health check hospital to do it in May. Maybe send a letter to the hospital now outlining the situation and asking them to have a private, gentle chat with Okaasan when she goes for the free health check. Then having the diapers and trash boxes in place. Let the professionals give Okaasan some semblance of privacy on the matter.

Yujiro thinks HE can talk to Okaasan about this topic and suggest the time has come for diapers and toilet trash box etc. He looks pretty depressed about it, as you can imagine - it won't be an easy conversation to have with your own mother.

I feel like I'm trying to a balancing act: trying to support him in this new strange role in his life, but trying to push him to do what I feel is best for all of us. I WANT the outside world (doctor/health center/care people) to know about Okaasan and our situation - but Yujiro wants to take care of it all himself....for love/guilt/pride reasons?

And so. aghhhh...............

Whatever we do it'll probably have to wait a while; until we've got the Fallen Out Tooth situation dealt with. I made an appointment for Okaasan for next Monday afternoon and prepped my dentist about her aversion to modern/Western medicine we'll see if we can get her to go to THAT first.
Yujiro will be working as a cycle taxi driver - so it'll be my responsibility to get her ready and out to the dentist.
She seems fine - yesterday she actually went downtown to meet Yujiro (he'd forgotten to give her money for lunch) and she ate dinner with us in the evening, seemed a bit quiet...but basically ok.
The dentist visit isn't essential of course - but if the tooth has fallen out I am guessing the gum isn't healthy and there could easily be infection which will spread.

So, first Tooth....then we'll tackle Toilet.
Or Yujiro will. I feel a bit helpless - I don't have the language ability and I don't have the close relationship with Okaasan to be able to talk about such a personal topic with her.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Falling, falling..........

Okaasan's tooth fell out yesterday.
Top front.

She's had a crooked, nasty-brown colored tooth there for ages and yesterday afternoon she suddenly said to Yujiro: "did I eat something hard? My tooth has fallen out!".

So now we have the saga of will she/won't she go to a dentist.

Over a year ago she was complaining of tooth pains, so we finally got her to go to a local clinic. She went twice, but when the dentist said he was going to give her an anesthetic injection Okaasan decided with all HER medical-wisdom that it wasn't necessary. So she stopped going.

And now. Occasional pain you quickly forget is one thing, a gaping gap when you talk or smile is another. And we haven't found the tooth itself yet. Did she swallow it? Is it under the newspaper mountain?

She didn't eat dinner last night, returning predictably to Guru Nishi-sensei's "don't-eat-and-your-body-will-heal-itself" mantra. But she did agree that a dentist should have a look to make sure there is no infection. 
Friday starts a series of public holidays in Japan so we'll try and get her along to my dentist quickly.


The other falling...

Yesterday I went back to my indulgence: woodchip sauna bath salon, after a break of almost 6 months.
And it was too hot for me. And I almost fainted! Had to be rescued by the salon staff armed with iced towels etc.

It was scary actually. I haven't fainted in years, not counting menopausal dizziness from standing up too quickly.
After 10 minutes buried up to my neck in woodchips I felt a bit hot, after 15 uncomfortable. By the time the facepack went on...not too good. Got out...into the shower and felt dizzy, into the locker room and it was spinning.
I luckily got out to the reception area and lounge - "feeling bad!!! bad!!" to the staff, and just as my legs went like lead and I felt I was falling the staff steered me into a massage chair, pulled the curtains and brought me  round with iced towels and water.

YIKES! Scary. 
I canceled the much-longed for Facial treatment and came home gently. Felt ok at home, but stayed off the beer/wine.

Hmm. I hope it was just because I was too hot. Maybe a menopausal hot-flush came on strong at the same time too. New customers usually only do 10 mins., but as I am an old customer the staff and I thought 20 mins. was ok. I guess not.

* More double incontinence Sunday. Well, we FOUND it on Sunday. Three pairs of soiled pajamas in Okaasan's room. Thankgoodness for washing machines.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Let's dementia!

Living with dementia makes you horribly aware of whether it is creeping up on YOU.

We all joke about forgetting stuff when we are busy or stressed, but if you live up close with dementia there is an added element.

Yesterday was a busy Friday for me. Five classes - 45 minutes for lunch. Got to get on top of it all. Lesson sheet. Letter of recommendation for a student. Return the book someone lent me. 

I came out of the shower in the morning and put an egg on to boil to make up a lunchbox. Went off upstairs to get dressed and ready for work. Printed out the lesson sheet for the midday student. Got my stuff together, ignored the cats pleading for another breakfast, chatted to Yujiro about stuff - and headed out. 
Got to the classroom: BUGGER!

Forgot both the boiled egg (and lunchbox) and the lesson sheet.

Rang home and got Yujiro to rescue the pan. He said the kitchen was hazy and the pan a bit burnt. Egg was brown.
Wrote out the midday lesson sheet again by hand, apologized to the student.

Am I getting it? Am I losing the power to do A, B, C, D...and remember A?

Yujiro went shopping without money. I leave washing in the machine. We both forget stuff....

Can't help but wonder if it is early signs or not.

But we aren't shitting ourselves yet. Well, he farts like a Fart Orchestra, and I have to run to the toilet if I come into the house from the cold....but I think we are not too far gone. 


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hair cut!

Okaasan had a haircut.
Finally. 6 months since the last one. Months of talking about it.
I organised her into it, and it was a success.

And she looks so much better, and is SO perky!

Yujiro actually got her primed for getting out of the house on time and going to the salon because I had to go to work. Okaasan does really need someone nagging her to get along with getting out - getting washed, getting dressed, do you need to eat something, what do you need to take, etc etc.
Anyway he got her out the house and she had a cut and perm.
Seemed to enjoy it.
Came home looking all neat and tidy and was very chatty to us in the kitchen in the afternoon/evening.
 Obviously feels a whole lot better for the experience.

Maybe down the line she will complain about this salon and stylist and we'll start hunting again for another place, but for now all seems well and she doesn't look like a crazy old lady.
We could almost forgive her hamster-wheel conversation about the flat fish she'd bought and that we served for DELICIOUS flat fish is!! Sometimes it isn't you know, but I asked the man in the shop and he said THIS fish was delicious. So I bought it. This fish is delicious, sometimes it isn't you know...but I bought it in a shop and the man said....(Chorus, repeat until the family finally escape from the kitchen and run upstairs screaming.)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Back to reality.

After all the elation of the Walkathon success...which by the way is featured here in the Hokkaido Newspaper...

After all basics.

Toilet...err.. problems again.

Came home Monday evening and Yujiro said he thought Okaasan had had an accident in her room because he saw her suddenly stand up, grab some newspaper and run from her living room into the tatami room...and then she was there for a long time.
Sure enough. On Tuesday while she was out he got into her tatami room and found very soiled underwear and newspaper and tissues and stuff. All had to be bagged up and thrown out.

What to do? It's SO hard to talk about this. For either of us really.
Recently she has double incontinence more and more. It must be embarrassing and disgusting for her, but lucky if it happens at home. But eventually I think she'll stop going out.
Does she remember it happened or not? Does she know that we've cleared up after her in her room?

I hope when she goes for the very basic free health check at the clinic this spring that we can get a nurse to mention it and maybe recommend old person diapers. Hope.

Monday, 18 April 2011

ONE MILLION YEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Walkathon staff team celebrate 619 km!

Walkathon was yesterday!
105 people, aged 1-70 plus walked.
Longest walk - 30 km by an adult.
Longest walk - 14 km by a 7 and a 10 year old.
Youngest child to walk 10 km - FOUR years old!!!!
Walking 10 km - 23 people did it!!!


Total raised for the Japanese Red Cross Tohoku Appeal?

Y1,200,000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is: $12,000!

We are all stunned. And tired. And happy!
Vicky and Walkathon staff setting up sign-in area.

Vicky gets the troops in order!

Ogawa-san signs in.

Vicky and map designed Chizuko set out Eniwa to Sendai target!

Some crazy British Oyomesan: "Peace in our time!"

10 km Ogawa-san, a student at NHK Culture School, Sapporo.

Ogawa-san and Oyomesan.

Yujiro interviews 10 km super kids.

Mid-afternoon, enough km for Oshamambe....

Sebastian and the 20 km and 15 km mark...

Why not? Sebastian finally did...30km! Sponsors are going to be in for a shock...

Almost 6 pm and we've walked to Miyagi...

619 km! Vicky completes the map.


Saturday, 16 April 2011

Hair's to me!

Hair's to me! I am officially : a Genius Oyomesan.

Got Okaasan to book an appointment at the hair salon next Wednesday at 10 am...or was it 12? She wasn't sure which time seconds after putting the phone down. 
Never mind, I can go to the salon before Wednesday and check the time and get them primed to keep offering Okaasan toilet breaks.

But yes. She is going.

I brought it up at lunchtime...all crafty-like.
Waited till we were almost finished, sitting there the three of us. Okaasan already had her tea. All relaxed.
Then I swooped.
"Oh, I almost forgot Okaasan! Look, this card is the telephone number of that hair salon you said you wanted to go to by the station! Shall we call and make an appointment? How about today or tomorrow?"
Opened the floodgates to all sorts of chat about hair cuts and perms, and male stylists are best, and this one is where I go walking, and I went in Saitama, But I didn't go recently etc etc etc.

Yujiro looked at the card and the prices and then started to give it to Okaasan, she was saying: "Oh I'll go in there the next time I am walking there, I am always walking by the door etc."
But NO! Oyomesan is made of tougher stuff than this.
Okaasan has spent months and months walking past that salon doors. Hasn't gone in yet. Probably never will until her hair is so long that it curls round her feet on the pavement and she trips over it and falls into the salon doors.
I'm not waiting for her to go in and make the appointment. It may never happen.

I leapt from my chair, flung open the door to Okaasan's room, swooped in and grabbed her mobile phone, grabbed the card and called the fucking salon myself.
After reminding them that I was that woman who came in last week, I handed the phone to Okaasan so she could talk to them about a cut and perm if-you-have-time-sometime-please.
We only heard her end of the conversation after that, but it's set for April 20th. Next Wednesday!!


Am I great or what? It was a textbook display of dementia management. Doing it together in a nice friendly, let's do this fun thing together way. And I did it.

I am great. It's official.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Great dollops of... happiness!

I've whinged and whined enough in this blog.
Well, had enough to whinge and whine about really.

But today. Well, just little Miss Sunshine here. :-)

I rode a bicycle for the first time in 2 years. THIS is momentous, if you've been reading long enough here you'll know I was struck down 2 years ago with damaged knee cartilage, which I then continued walking around on...and it got worse. I couldn't walk anywhere, Used to go thru airports and to pop concerts in wheelchairs and on crutches.

But now? I rode my brand new bike from the house to the classroom - with the wind blowing in my hair and hardly a care in the world.
Then I walked around all over downtown, dropping off press releases to radio stations about the Walkathon, I did classes...and then come 5.30 pm I got on my bike and cycled home! Almost all the way, got off and walked on one hill.

It's amazing. To me anyway.

And come Sunday this weekend: I will be walking 2 km in the Eniwa-Sendai with Love Walkathon.

And THAT topic is the other source of sunshine.
People are SO KIND!

** Blog reader Clare in Australia bowled me over first by offering to sponsor both I AND Yujiro in our walking efforts. She'll pay her sponsor money in Australia and tell us the receipt number. This is a woman I've never met offering to donate money to Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims. Incredible.

** Then...I came out of my downtown NHK class to find Noriyo-san...she was a student until last year at a different NHK class. She was downtown doing something anyway, but she checked on the NHK website to confirm my schedule and actually came and waited for me in the elevator hall of the center JUST SO SHE AND ANOTHER STUDENT COULD SPONSOR ME!

** and THEN (we are just basking in the sunny rays here), I came home and found that Atsuko-san, another NHK student had read about the Walkathon and she had called NHK, and they called here because she too wanted to SPONSOR me.

** And two students at my English classroom also came today bearing sponsor offers...thankyou all!

Amazed. And happy. And grateful. Thankyou.

Okaasan (cos afterall this blog is meant to be about life-with-her) seems fine, the weather is getting better and she is going out for walks. We've put the laundry stand outside now so she can soon enjoy hanging laundry and rearranging it for ages.
Her room is its usual mess with clothes and newspapers everywhere. We get in to clean it when she is out.
I scored a few Oyomesan bonus points this week by asking Okaasan if I could put two seed trays in her room by the  window because it is almost safely away from the cats. She is happy to be helping and I've left a spray can near it so she can gently spray the soil instead of her usual drown-it-everytime-I-notice-it style of indoor gardening.

I'm gearing up to really trying to get her along to have a haircut. Tonight I checked out the hairsalon near the station that Okaasan seemed to think might be skilled enough to touch her head. Nice enough owner and assistant and a good, clean Western style toilet.

Now. How to get Okaasan to go?
I can't book it and then tell her. That would be too managing.
If I discuss it with her and suggest she calls. She'll put it off until never.
The ideal would be if we are out walking and happen to pass the door and go in and they have time to do her right then.
But I hardly ever go walking with her.

Yujiro seems disinterested in the whole topic. He's a guy who gets a 10 minute buzzcut.

I think it's sad, but interesting that Okaasan doesn't take the steps to go to a hair salon. Most women enjoy the experience. When she looks in a mirror she must be disappointed at how she looks: all straggly, grey hair.
Has dementia made her SO uncaring about her personal appearance? I find  that hard to believe.
But another part of me wonders if going to a hair salon maybe isn't such a good experience for her - sitting in front of a mirror looking at yourself while a stranger forces you to converse. Is that too stressful a situation in fact? Is she instinctively shying away from that?

I know that in some of my darkest hours in the past two years, when Yujiro was in hospital, when Dad had died, when I was sick with expanding ovaries.....sitting in the hair salon was tough. I felt too exposed by the mirror and the kindness of my friendly stylist....the sad, bugeyed woman in the mirror was me. And I didn't want to look at her.

Maybe Okaasan doesn't actually like sitting looking at herself in a mirror while a stranger forces her to talk.

Hmmmm.....have to ponder this one some more.

So there we are. Happiness. Dollops of it.
About bloody time. I think I've done enough Serious Life Events to last me a while.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Still shocking...tsunami videos

One month on and Japan is still reeling.
I can't stop (guiltily) watching horror videos of earthquakes and tsunami. There is a line between being a voyeur and needing to remember these events.

Fellow blogger Vicky, whose husband is a SDF member working down in Sendai now, has just posted some tsunami videos of Kesennuma being hit by the tsunami on March 11 around 3 pm.
Watching people running for safety, screaming to their neighbors to hurry, the first water arriving...and then the whole thing building to a black torrent which sweeps away the town...
Shocking. Still.

Have a look at the videos on Vicky's blog Hyotenka.

This Sunday April 17th Vicky is organizing a sponsored charity walk to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross. It is the Eniwa-Sendai Walkathon.
We will be walking in an indoor sports training track in Eniwa - and being sponsored per kilometer.
I'm aiming for 2 km - that's all my gammy knee will allow - Yujiro is going to be MC and do 10 km, one of my students is going to do 10 km too.
I have sponsors from the UK, Tokyo and Sapporo.
You can sponsor me from afar too - just tell me how much you'd like to sponsor me and make a donation to the Red Cross where you live, then tell me the amount so I can include it in my final amount.

If you are reading this blog in Hokkaido and can come and join us - please come!
Sunday April 17th, starting at 1 pm at the High Technology Senmon Gakko Indoor Stadium in Megumino Kita, Eniwa. This is just 7 minutes walk from Megumino Station.

Monday, 11 April 2011


Hours and hours and hours and hours...of a WEEKEND!!!!

It was GREAT! I shall do it again. ;-))

And it was sunny and we could go outside and clean up the garden and do stuff, and the cats enjoyed rolling around in the crocus flower beds, and , and , and....

It was excellent.

Okaasan behaved herself. She went walking and shopping - she seems to be on a buying spree at the moment and is constantly asking for money for aprons, and T-shirts and other things she has bought. No problem - it is keeps her happy.

And I LOVED my weekend.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Return of the...bag.

Came a letter.

Dear XXX-san,
 This is the curry restaurant on Densha-dori. About a week ago you came into our restaurant to use the toilets, but you left your bag here. We apologize for looking inside, but we found your address inside. If you'd like to come to the restaurant, we are keeping the bag for you.
Lots of love,
The Curry Restaurant.

AHHHH!!!!!!! THAT bag! That curry shop....400 meters in the opposite direction from the dry cleaners and the lunchbox shop. Lunchbox shop/curry restaurant mashup.

So. Okaasan and Yujiro went off yesterday to have lunch at the curry place and say a big, bowing "Thankyou" to them for keeping the bag and taking the trouble to track down the forgetful owner.
Japan is a nice place. People take the time to do this kind of thing.

Today is Saturday. And tomorrow is Sunday. It's called a weekend.
And it's MINE! All mine!
I have a weekend!!!!
After stresses and sickness last year I vowed to replan my life and give myself time to smell the roses. So I reorganized my work schedule to move classes out of Saturday and into other days.
Gave myself Saturdays off, for the first time since coming to Japan. So that's for the first time in about 18 years.
Last weekend was a sick washout. 3 days in bed.

But now? Happy!!! Sunshine! Healthy! Having lunch with a friend! Might go out and look at the garden! YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Miracle water for cats

It's a miracle! H40 Pet Water.
Popo-chan is a walking, miaowing, eating, drinking, peeing, licking, jumping ball of fur again.

Two weeks ago his blood had Cre and Bun levels off the charts and kidneys failing by the minute. He'd stopped eating and almost stopped drinking too.
Didn't look good.

The vet gave us medicine, but as he wasn't eating there wasn't a way to get the medicine inside him.

Then Yujiro found this: H40, hydrogen bonded water for pets. It's a Japanese product and sold on the Internet. One vet seems to say it is good, many cat owners vouch for it. Nobody knows why.

Hmmm...very fishy....I know. These Miracle Cures touted on the Internet. I had my doubts. We both did. But we figured it wouldn't actually harm the poor little bugger.

So we ordered a box, over Y6,450 for 30 little packs of water. Absolutely crazy. I think I'll start believing in angels and crystal pendants very soon too. People in Tohoku with NO fresh drinking water...well, people in Tokyo with no safe water either....and we are buying pack water for a cat.

Yes. Well. I know, I know....

March 29th Popo-chan was licking a few drops of H40 off the back of my hand and then crouching down on the carpet in a sad little funk.
April 6th Popo-chan is running around miaowing for food, miaowing for attention....out in the garden chasing bugs and back into life in all his furryness!

Quite amazing. Really. I'm not being paid by this company to promote this stuff - but for anyone reading this with furballs. I REALLY think this stuff is good. Somehow.

Here is the link to buy some H40 Miracle Water.

Now. Angels or crystal pendants? Which will transform my life and bring me True Happiness?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A day of strange decisions.

Okaasan isn't running-down-the-street-crazy, which I think is one of the main mis-perceptions of dementia.

But her decisions about life's choices are often strange, because she is basing it in her memory of what is current and what has just happened. And THAT is patchy. Sometimes I think her decisions are very childlike: based on emotion and need, two things you just can't reason with.

Yesterday had two good examples.

She decided NOT to go to hula dance. Something about...I took stuff to the dry cleaners, I don't know what, but maybe I need it for hula dance....I usually wear T-shirts for hula dance? I don't have any T-shirts. No, that T-shirt isn't a hula dance T-shirt. Nor that one. Nor that one. 
So she didn't go.

But she went out for a walk.

Came home at 7.20 pm. We were already eating dinner.
Um....don't heat mine yet...I have to go back to the convenience store because I have bought a magazine, but I didn't have enough money, so I said I'd come home and get it, so I must go back right now. Wait until tomorrow? No, they only had one magazine, and I want that magazine, and I bought it, but I must go back and pay for it.
Aghhh........Yujiro was already two beers down. I luckily??? was only drinking hot lemon and ginger for my cold, so I could drive. We got up from our dinners, put on our outside clothes and drove Okaasan 5 minutes away so she could pay for the all-essential magazine. 
She kept apologizing, we kept saying "why don't you just leave the magazine until tomorrow, or ask the shop to put it to one side for you till tomorrow??",
But in Okaasan's logic those options weren't on the table.
She saw the magazine. She wanted the magazine. She started the process of buying it.

And, and, and, and....

Another day.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Bag black hole?

It's vanished.
The bag. Gone and will probably never be seen again.
Yujiro went yesterday on the Big Bag Hunt - checking at the lunchbox shop and the drycleaners near our old apartment.
Yes, Okaasan had been in the day before looking for her bag.
Yes, she'd been in 2 days before shopping/bringing in dry cleaning.

Nobody knows anything about a bag.
There was no request to "keep my bag while I go to another shop".
All a blank.
The dry cleaning shop staff said they'd even gone WITH Okaasan to a few local shops to try and help her find the bag! Japan is like that, people will actually leave their business counter and come down the street with you if they think you need help. It's amazing.

And so. She lost it somewhere on her Thursday outing. But she doesn't know where, and in her mind this story of leaving it for a while at the lunchbox shop took form.
So. We aren't mentioning the bag again, unless she does. 
She seemed happier at dinner yesterday, ate a lot and responded to chat about food and sports teams donating money.
Maybe she has already forgotten the bag? Or maybe the topic is lurking just beneath the surface, ready to pop out again when she is stressed about something.
The bag itself is no big deal. Like all Japanese woman Okaasan has a VAST array of bags. It's some kind of obsession here. She probably had 20 bags of all shapes and sizes. And you can always buy more gloves.

But it's HER feeling from this loss that is unknown. That is something we watch for. Her disappointment and frustration about losing something, which somehow has become entrusting another person with it - and now it's gone....

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Bag Mini Drama

Okaasan came home Thursday saying she'd given her shopping bag to a shop to look after, and when she'd gone back the shop was closed and she couldn't get her bag back.

A pretty strange story, and we are not sure which elements of this are true or half-true.

She believes she went back to the neighborhood near our old apartment to go to the dry-cleaning shop that she thinks is better than any other dry cleaning shop (don't ask!).
The Chinese restaurant we took her to by car on Wednesday is near there, so of course that area was suddenly back in her mind and that's why she suddenly decided to go back to that area again.

She thinks that she got to the lunchbox shop at the crossroads, and left her bag at the shop because she wanted to buy something - but didn't want to carry a heavy bag all the way to the drycleaners and back.

The drycleaners is actually only 30 meters away...

But then. After going to the drycleaners, the lunchbox shop was closed. And her bag is in the shop.


Oh. And my gloves. I've lost my gloves.

Yesterday Yujiro was planning to telephone the lunchbox shop. But right after lunch at home, Okaasan got dressed up and set out herself to go and retrieve the bag.

And came home 5 hours later...with no bag. And a a confused story about the shop and the bag...and...and.

At dinner she looked tired and confused. Not happy.
Yujiro will call the lunchbox place today, if it's open on a Saturday.

A typical Okaasan confusion. She obviously HAS lost her bag and gloves somewhere, and it may be at the lunchbox shop. Or it might be another place. Or she may have asked the shop to keep her bag, or not.

Losing things and confusions.

Meanwhile. I am home with a cold. High temperature Thursday afternoon. Small cough developing into old man splutters. Cancelled classes and stayed home.
First ordinary weekend in years and years because I have rearranged my work schedule to have classes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And I'm home spluttering. Perfect.
But at least I am not on a sports hall floor on a mat with 1,000 other coughing people and cup ramen for dinner.